Michael Franti’s stormy performance at Jannus Live, St. Petersburg

Bringing your kid to a concert on a school night is the coolest thing ever. Just ask Michael Franti and all the kids that got to jam out with their parents this at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg, Florida the other night… They’d most likely tell you it was an experience of a lifetime.

Though the night only highlighted two acts, it was something magical.

First up was Charlotte, North Carolina’s very own Of Good Nature. Their set was a treat for the ears, filled with funky basslines that would bounce around the ears. Bassist Clifton Bundick is still relatively new to the band, yet he’s a force that seems like the band can’t live without, not just because of his ability to slap the bass like a baby’s bare bottom, but also because of the sly coolness he brings to the group. As a whole, Of Good Nature played a spectacular set. The sound they produced flowed through Florida’s infamous humid air and created a permanent groove that would last through the night. Each song smacked smiles onto faces and untethered feet from the ground.

North Carolina might be home for Of Good Nature, but Florida could be a contender for the band’s second home. In fact, Florida was the testing grounds when Of Good Nature decided to hit the road for the first time! “Florida was the first place we went on tour, back in 2016 when we went outside the Carolina’s, Georgia and Virginia. It was kind of the test for what we’re doing now,” said trombonist Brandon Hucks. “Florida has always been good to us,” continues frontman and guitarist Cameron Brown. “The culture breeds music lovers and our music seems to do okay down here. We love Florida.”

One thing about this state, though, is that there is always a strong possibility of rain…

Far above the smiling faces and bouncing souls sat waterlogged clouds waiting to spill. When the skies opened up, so did the hearts. That’s because Michael Franti & Spearhead began a set in the rain like no other. Kids were atop their parents’ shoulders, singing along to every word and dancing feet splashed in fresh puddles. Michael Franti’s energy flowed throughout the venue like fire. It was captivating and mighty, but most of all, it was transcendental. The music not only lifted spirits but transported them into a musical paradise.

Franti played the hits like “The Sound of Sunshine” and “My Favorite Wine Is Tequila”, but it was the songs like “Good Shit Happens” and “Life Is Better With You” that had attendees singing within a whole new realm of sound. The show headlined Michael Franti, but yet the real highlight was the crowd. Franti bounced between welcoming lucky concertgoers onstage to sing and entering the audience frequently. It was a raw display of the power of synchronicity. Witnessing everyone circle around Franti was nothing short of powerful and the energy radiated through the people with a potent, yet mellow touch.

It was beyond music.

That Thursday night showed why the delicate touch of music can leave such a lasting punch, with the ability to connect generations and bond communities into families. By the night’s end, the air radiated with a spectral glow. While leaving the venue, the smiles didn’t end. Instead, they seemed to be permanently affixed to the faces of every single person. Magical might seem hyperbolic, but those who attended the show would most likely agree.

Photography by Brian “Porkchop” Nicholson & Brendan McGinley; Recap by Brendan McGinley

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